BCG partners with Climeworks to support its climate positive goal

04 January 2022 3 min. read

Boston Consulting Group has agreed a partnership with Climeworks in its push to become a net zero business by 2030. The deal will also see the strategic consulting giant help Climeworks develop its business, which focuses on capturing carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere.

As the effects of climate change become more pronounced, the world’s largest businesses are struggling to build for economic growth without harming the planet with its carbon output. While most are simply aiming for net zero carbon, however, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has announced it will take things even further, by aiming to be ‘climate positive’ by the end of the decade.

One of the most common ways in which businesses seek to improve their sustainability efforts is carbon offsetting – and this is also a key part of BCG’s 2030 goals. This process consists of a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.

BCG partners with Climeworks to support its climate positive goal

While paying to plant trees is the most common approach to offsetting, it can also include sponsoring solar and wind-power projects, or even capturing methane released from land-fill sites.

Climeworks is a company that specialises in carbon offsetting through ‘direct air capture’ technology. The Switzerland-based company produces modular CO2 collectors which can be stacked to build machines of any size. The technology looks to remove unavoidable and historic CO2 emissions from the atmosphere, before either recycling it, using it as a raw material, or completely removing it from the air by safely storing it underground.

BCG will now work with Climeworks to help to develop its nascent business. Under the agreement, the strategy consultancy will provide advisory services focused on helping the firm to scale up its activities and reach more customers. It will also purchase services from the group to help to offset its own emissions by 2030.

“Not only will we leverage Climeworks’ services to achieve our own net zero target by 2030, but we will also have a far greater impact by acting as Climeworks’ advisory partner to accelerate the broader adoption and scaling of their services globally,” Joachim Stephan, BCG’s head of Switzerland, said in a statement.

According to estimates from Boston Consulting Group, direct air capture technology has the potential to capture and permanently remove 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2050.

Christoph Gebald, co-CEO and co-founder of Climeworks, said: “The carbon removal market’s ability to scale up fast relies on early action from pioneering companies. After having brought the first carbon removal plant into operations earlier this year, we are proud to be partnering with BCG as the first direct air capture company.”

The contract is understood to be the first of several direct air capture agreements which BCG expects to sign, as the firm hopes to set an example for the fast adoption of technological carbon removal, and expand the market. Meanwhile, it is the second 10-year agreement Climeworks has won, proving that there is high long-term demand for its measurable and permanent carbon dioxide removal business.

A green cycle

Climeworks also notes on its site that its direct air capture machines are powered solely by renewable energy or energy-from-waste, meaning it does not end up creating more emissions than its technology captures – a common criticism of technology aimed at tackling emissions.

An independent life cycle assessment has shown that the grey emissions of its machines are below 10%, which means that out of 100 tons of carbon dioxide that are captured from the air, at least 90 tons are permanently removed, and only up to 10 tons are re-emitted.